As a taxpayer in Montana, I am more than willing to pay taxes to support the university here in Havre. I would, however, like someone in the Montana University System to explain why Montana State University-Northern does not have a full-time professor in physics, philosophy, psychology, music or foreign language, and why the university has refused to hire as full-time faculty the many gifted and knowledgeable Native Americans to teach American Indian studies courses at our university.
The local high school offers more foreign language and music than Northern does.
The operating budget at Northern is about $15 million a year. Less than one-third of the full-time employees actually teach any classes at all. In the public schools in our state, fully two-thirds of the employees teach classes. Sadly, the university system has become a jobs program for administrators and bureaucrats who do not teach at all. At Northern, the various administrators claim they want to boost enrollment but keep cutting classes and laying off faculty. Cutting classes and faculty to increase enrollments is like a restaurant trying to attract more customers by no longer serving beverages. Summer school enrollment has declined some 41 percent over the last 10 years, and there are no plans to address this crisis.
Since a thriving university is good business in our town, I encourage the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce to demand that there be some accountability up at Northern. We may remember that the last chancellor travelled to Jamaica and China claiming to recruit students and brought back exactly zero students for our university. A university that does not have a professor of music or philosophy, or foreign language or psychology, can hardly call itself a university at all.
The hard-working people of Havre and north-central Montana deserve better.